Reps Blog January – March 2021

As your Big Local Rep, every three months or so, I share my thoughts on local area progress with you as residents and with the central team managing the national programme. Your comments and thoughts are always welcome.

A year into the pandemic, the loss and cost has been very heavy on us all. Spring brings hope. With lower infection rates, warmer weather and increasing numbers vaccinated, we look forward to our communities reopening and reconnecting. The solidarity and resilience of residents is inspirational. Big Warsop has shown compassion and concern, responding to changing need, bringing its resources of people, partners and funding to support people and communities.

Local Trust continues to offer its support to the 150 Big Local areas across England.

  • Big Local Connects hopes to back up and running in person from 29th to 30th October at the East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham, in line with all government guidance. Online registration will be open from 24 May.
  • Together We Plan! Here is a link to a handbook of practical tips helping partnerships plan in the wake of the uncertainty brought about by the pandemic.
  • A year of the pandemic – Local Trust takes a look at Big Local responses and initiatives in these testing times, what helped, the challenges and what the future holds.

Priorities and achievements looking back: managing to juggle the strategic developments around Vibrant’s purchase of the Methodist Chapel at the same time as keeping track of current activity and investments.

Running things

Big Warsop, Vibrant Warsop CIC and Mansfield CVS as the Local Trusted Organisation, have had a remarkable and very busy three months. A year ago, Big Warsop decided to take one last strategic look at options for a bigger investment with remaining funds to secure a larger legacy for the Parish of Warsop. By Christmas, bidding for the Methodist Church, which had come up for sale, was a distinct possibility. Early in the New Year, the building was declared an Asset of Community Value, thus helping assure it could be retained for community use and benefit. Funding has been secured by Big Warsop and MCVS from Local Trust and negotiations are ongoing.

The Big Warsop partnership, in addition to the work on the purchase of the chapel, has been meeting on line every fortnight to manage its investments and review the activity it supports. Partner agreements, reports on activities, minutes of meetings and stories of action and change are posted on the website. Monthly financial updates are provided by the Local Trusted Organisation, Mansfield CVS. New funding was agreed for laptops in schools and the Swallows Green development.

Doing things

The focus this last year has been on Strengthening Communities through its lead partner, Vibrant. Vibrant produced a 12 page newsletter in the autumn, summarising its activity and achievements across the Parish in supporting people during hardship and keeping the web of community connections active. A range of activities have been taking place online, including Shibashi, Zumba and Pilates classes, Coffee and Chat and Craft and Chat drop in groups and Scouts, Beavers and Cubs. Vibrant also continues to support Warsop Old Hall project, Friends of Warsop Vale and the Warsop Footpaths and Countryside group. Partners have been busy, adapting their activities to the times, including Ecologic’s Future Greens project and the restoration of the Old Hall project. CAR Warsop has continued its Covid-19 support, on average now delivering 10 food parcels a week.  Over the last year, it has delivered 808 hampers, reaching 1200 adults and 1063 children and responded to 344 telephone enquiries.

Key priorities looking ahead

Seeing through the purchase of the Methodist Church is the priority for Vibrant, followed by essential maintenance to the roof, heating and pointing of some of the brickwork. This is also funded by Big Warsop. Vibrant will work closely with Mansfield District Council to ensure the earliest possible safe opening of the new centre to local groups. Vibrant will also work on its business plan for the centre, to be submitted as part of the funding agreement to Local Trust alongside Big Warsop’s new and probably final plan. Meanwhile, Big Warsop has started off this process by beginning to review the existing plan, including via a questionnaire on Survey Monkey.